India seeks arrest of U.S .academic

March 24, 2004 at 12:50 PM

BOMBAY, March 24 (UPI) -- The government of the Indian state of Maharashtra said Wednesday it will ask Interpol to help arrest a U.S. academic, who it says slandered a 17th century king.

"We will seek the assistance of the CBI and Interpol to nab (James) Laine, whose book 'Shivaji -- A Hindu King in Islamic India,' contained alleged slanderous remarks against Shivaji and his mother Jeejamata," said R.R. Patil, the state's home minister. His comments were reported by the semi-official Press Trust of India.

Laine teaches religious studies at Macalaster College in Minnesota. His book has irked Hindu activists in the state who see Shivaji as a hero. Although the book is a largely positive portrayal of the warrior king, it includes accounts of his unclear parentage.

The government of Maharashtra has banned the book and Indian Prime Minister Atal Bihari Vajpayee said Saturday he favored a nationwide ban on the book.

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